Stephen Miller reportedly pushed for plan to illegally block undocumented kids from public school

White House aide and white supremacist Stephen Miller reportedly sought to block undocumented immigrant kids from a public school education as far back as 2017, but was ultimately unable to go forward with his plan because, well, it would be unconstitutional.

Miller and his allies “sought for months for a way to give states the power to block undocumented immigrant children from enrolling in public schools,” Bloomberg reports. “They abandoned the idea after being told repeatedly that any such effort ran afoul of a 1982 Supreme Court case guaranteeing access to public schools.” Still, it demonstrates the extent to which this administration will go to make life miserable for brown and black families—and the extent of Miller’s depravity. 

It was Miller who most recently harassed officials into hurrying their asses on a discriminatory rule change that had already inflicted immense damage in proposal form. “The public charge [regulation] has been in the works for a year and a half,” Miller scolded in one email. “This is time we don’t have. I don’t care what you need to do to finish it on time.” It’s Miller who has been behind family separation, in just one other example, and then wanted more of it.

Of course, the administration has been perfectly willing to disobey the courts on other matters, like family separation. A judge last year ordered officials to stop state-sanctioned kidnapping at the border, but nearly 1,000 children have been stolen since then. When it comes to Miller’s plan to block undocumented kids from school, Education Department spokesperson Liz Hill told Bloomberg, “The memo wasn’t issued because the secretary would never consider it.”

But stealing kids from their parents for reasons as petty and minor as a dirty diaper? For traffic citations? For “a conviction on a charge of malicious destruction of property with alleged damage of $5”? Sure, Trump officials will consider that, and have done it. This is a profoundly anti-child administration that has stooped to just about every low. So what’s perhaps almost as shocking as the Trump administration considering this plan, is the administration not just going ahead with it anyway.

ICE Defends Detaining And Holding Breastfeeding Mom

As part of the round-up at Koch Foods in Morton, Mississippi a woman was detained and continues to be held, despite caring for a newborn. ICE claims Domingo-Garcia answered “no” when asked if she was still breastfeeding her four-month-old. Source: CNN (CNN) Maria Domingo-Garcia left for work 12 days ago, and she hasn’t been home. […]

All white men who own property and have a certain level of income are created equal

It seems like a lifetime ago that we had a competent, scandal-free, empathetic president. We had two terms with President Obama, who maintained his dignity and grace even when the Republican leadership did everything to undermine him. If it was not clear before, it should be now: racism played a large role in the Republican treatment of President Obama, with the final indignity being a denied Supreme Court appointment. 

Russian interference into our election process stirred up racism and hatred to levels I have not seen in my lifetime. Granted, as a people, we tend to look back at the past with rose colored glasses. I know I often look back on my time in the service as being devoid of racism because we were all “green.” I also know that is not a realistic portrayal of military service in the ‘80s; Racism existed and was common especially with postings in the American South. 

Racism has always been a part of the American experience going back to the beginning of our nation. We have often failed at meeting the promise of “All men are created equal.” For most of American history that has meant, “All white men who own property and have a certain level of income are created equal.”

Donald J. Trump is the epitome of “All white men who own property and have a certain level of income are created equal.” If there were truly justice in the world, he would be a drunken hooch hound sitting at the end of the bar in a darkened tavern boasting of all his great deeds and female conquests during his glory days of high school to anyone who would listen—but we do not live in a just world. 

We live in a world where a narcissistic grifter and his crime family  were able to con just enough people in this country using dog whistles, outright racism, and a brand of populism that attracted the lowest common denominator of the American people—our friends and neighbors, the people we thought we knew. Hillary Clinton was right when she stated

[D]on’t get complacent, don’t see the latest outrageous, offensive, inappropriate comment and think well he’s done this time. We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?

We have one side who has used George Orwell’s novel 1984 as a road map for their foray into power. Never-ending wars, newspeak, and the constant lies that leave us permanently outraged.

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”  — George Orwell, 1984

We see, and hear it with the words of Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli:

“‘Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

Changing the words to Emma Lazarus’ poem, “The New Colossus,” he’s changing the very meaning of the promise this nation has always represented to the rest of the world:

…“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The promise, while our nation has never truly lived up to it, has always been that we are all created equal, and that we will take the people in that no one else wants. When my great grandparents arrived at Ellis Island, they came with nothing. Most of our ancestors came here with no more than the clothes on their backs, and in many cases, less than that. Immigrants to our nation have always been treated poorly. Doing the jobs that no one else would do, often residing in squalid living conditions. That has not changed today. 

In a recent ICE raid in Mississippi, 680 undocumented immigrants were arrested.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swept through seven work sites in six cities across Mississippi on Wednesday, arresting approximately 680 people the agency said were undocumented immigrants in what officials said is the largest single-state workplace enforcement action in U.S. history.

The raids targeted agricultural processing plants, part of a year-long investigation into illegal employment of immigrants in the state, officials said. They did not say how many individuals they were targeting in the operations, nor what proportion of those taken into custody were what ICE calls “collateral” arrests — those who were swept up along with those ICE was seeking.

ICE acting director Matthew Albence said at a news conference in Jackson, Miss., that some of those arrested will be prosecuted for crimes, others will be swiftly deported, and some will be released pending immigration court hearings. 

Not a single hiring manager or company executive was arrested for hiring undocumented workers. It should also be noted, especially for the “They are taking our jobs crowd,” that only 100 applicants showed up at a job fair held almost immediately after the the raids.

The job hopefuls expressed skepticism that the poultry plants would be able to find enough workers to replace the jobs wiped out in the ICE raids. “There are 680 jobs that were lost, and there are not 680 people here,” said Hailey Brewer, 26.

It should also be noted that these jobs are brutal, hard, and low-paying.

On a muggy August morning, black, white and Latino job applicants filed in and out of the Win job center, a nondescript office building where workers can apply for jobs and unemployment benefits. Some people had never worked at a chicken plant, and others were looking to return to the industry, drawn by hourly wages ranging from $9.20 to $12, well above the minimum wage of $7.25.

The Washington Post article notes that the minimum wage in the United States is embarrassingly low—at $9.20 to $12 an hour—while above the minimum wage is still below the poverty line and is still an incredibly low wage for such dangerous work.

Work at a poultry plant can be messy and dangerous. Workers with past and current experience at meatpacking plants describe gruesome scenes from the “live hang” line, where chickens are slaughtered, of bird feces and blood splattering on their faces. Employees often have to work in frigid rooms, and mistakes with the slicing equipment can be fatal.

One would need $12.37 an hour for a family of four to meet the poverty line, and that is assuming no unpaid time off for 52 weeks. In Mississippi, where these raids took place, you would need $14.43 an hour to rent a two bedroom home for your family of four. Is it any wonder why people are not pounding at the gates to get one of these jobs? Is it any wonder why plants like this prey on undocumented immigrants?

Executives and managers have little to fear. They likely know the documentation they run through E-Verify is falsified. But without fear of prosecution, they continue to hire undocumented workers who are the only ones who will work these low-paying, dangerous jobs. Then when the people who are being exploited by these companies get deported by ICE, these companies will just do the same thing all over again. Because it is cheaper to exploit immigrant labor than it is to improve plant conditions and pay a living wage that would attract a workforce that was comprised of American citizens.

Which brings us back to, “All white men who own property and have a certain level of income are created equal.” You can bet that we will never see the owners and managers of these workplaces be punished for hiring undocumented immigrants. But the people who came here for a better life for themselves and their children, who work hard every single day will have their families ripped apart. They will pay the price for the hubris of these rich white men who will exploit anyone they can to make a buck—then they will blame the very people they are exploiting as being the problem. 

Trump and his cohorts just don’t understand what America truly is

In the last week the Trump Administration has made a set of moves on immigration that truly and absolutely show that they honestly don’t understand what America truly is and what it’s about. Apparently, they think America is a some form of country club with an entrance fee and rope line to keep the riffraff from getting into the secret Kool Kids Klub behind the velvet curtain. The people from the “shithole” countries are welcome to come in, but only through the back door servant entrance because dishes need to be washed, floors need to be scrubbed, and sometimes somebody needs a happy ending.

They don’t get the idea that people aren’t supposed to bring things to America to make it economically stronger, their very presence and the addition of their efforts are what makes America vibrant, dynamic, and strong. It’s frankly very much Ayn Randian bullshit that they’re selling. In Rand’s world the wealthy and the self-defined worthy are extremely put out that the measly worker people are so demand-y, and want rights and stuff, and the government is obviously in cahoots with these lowlifes putting all kinds of rules and limits on their wonderful creativity and also awesomeness.

Yeah, that is until all the rape and mass murder starts happening; case in point, The Fountainhead.

When Donald Trump was running for the GOP nomination, he told USA Today’s Kirsten Powers that Ayn Rand’s raped-girl-decides-she-likes-it novel, The Fountainhead, was his favorite book. […]

Powers added, “He [Trump] identified with Howard Roark, the novel’s idealistic protagonist who designs skyscrapers and rages against the establishment.” Roark raged so much in the novel that he blew up a public housing project with dynamite just to get his way. […]

Rand was quite clear about the characteristics she wrote into her heroes, and in particular Howard Roark. In her Journals, she writes of the theme of the book, “One puts oneself above all and crushes everything in one’s way to get the best for oneself. Fine!”

On Howard Roark, she writes that he “has learned long ago, with his first consciousness, two things which dominate his entire attitude toward life: his own superiority and the utter worthlessness of the world. He knows what he wants and what he thinks. He needs no other reasons, standards or considerations. His complete selfishness is as natural to him as breathing.”

Howard Roark stands alone. He is awesome. He’s a rapist terrorist shithead, but he’s great—in his own head. And he’s Donald Trump’s personal hero. Some of the rest of us like Luke Skywalker, or maybe Indiana Jones, or possibly James Bond or Jason Bourne. Trump likes Howard Freaking Roark. Yeah.

When you put that in context it all makes slightly more sense how Trump pretty much doesn’t give a shit about the blue color “little guy.” Enter into this tableau former Virginia attorney general, Acting head of USCIS and walking, talking Howdy Doody doll Ken Cuccinelli who predictably wouldn’t say if Trump’s massive ICE raids in Mississippi would separate families, again, then dodged questions about punishing companies that hire undocumented workers. He also denied that Trump’s tweets were racist while claiming he didn’t see them, except that Jake Tapper had read them to him 24 hours previously.

“So what? So what?” he snapped. “I told you I haven’t been on Twitter in 24 hours. I’m not in there doing the Twitter war.”

He later passionlessly announced that the Trump administration was now changing the rules for legal immigration—repeat, legal immigration—to exclude any person from gaining a green card or citizenship if they had ever used public services such as Medicaid, TANF, or housing assistance.

In defending that policy change Cuccinelli decided to rewrite the Emma Lazarus poem which is etched into base of the Statue of Liberty to “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet. And who will not become a public charge.”

x

Cuccinelli when asked if the Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty still applies under the new “public charge” rule on immigration: “I’m certainly not prepared to take anything off the Statue of Liberty.” pic.twitter.com/zzWogDSfRj

— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) August 13, 2019

In 2017 when Jim Acosta asked Stephen Miller about the Lazarus poem which clearly seemed to contrast with his policy positions he stated:

“The poem that you’re referring to was added later (and) is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty,” Miller responded.

Neither Cuccinelli nor Miller, as well as clearly Trump himself, seem to understand the intention of the poem, the statue, or the purpose of Ellis Island. Lazarus wrote her poem after meeting with Eastern European jews who were escaping persecution in their home nations by coming to America.  They were absolutely considered “wretched refuse” in their home, and the point was that that was specifically the reason that they were being welcomed into America. Because people are starting off from the lowest point have the greatest potential for improvement. People who start off with nothing have the greatest possibilities for achievement, the greatest possible desire to reach their goals, and the greatest level of appreciation of America itself for allowing for that possibility.

There’s also the likelihood that Trump’s own German immigrant grandfather who was kicked out of his home country for draft dodging and whose only skill was being trained as a barber or his Scottish immigrant mother who had been a maid might not have been allowed to stay in the U.S. under these kinds of rules.

Later on, Cuccinelli again tried to defend his rewrite by claiming that the poem was “meant for Europeans who had different ‘class status’” when talking to Erin Burnett on CNN, but then immigration lawyer Michael Wildes—who had handled the immigration case for Melania Trump’s parents who came through what Trump called “chain migration”—opposed that view.

x
YouTube Video

During his interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Wildes stated that he was the grandson of Holocaust survivors, and that his grandfather would tell him:

My grandfather told my father, “You’re a citizen by chance, I’m a citizen by choice. People work harder when they come to this country and they travel through historic discrimination and challenges. A person that talks like [Cuccinelli] writes off history.”

Trump and his ilk don’t understand this. They have no clue about any of this. Neither does Fox News or its base. Brian Kilmeade insists that calling southern immigration an “invasion” isn’t anti-hispanic racism which makes sense for him to say since The New York Times documents that there are hundreds of examples of Fox News using the same “invasion” rhetoric as the El Paso shooter.

All of this is part of their “scare the white people” strategy by suggesting that the nation is being overrun by a flood of dirty scummy criminal brown people. It’s certainly racist, but it’s also classist and elistist as Nicole Wallace recently stated in a rant against Cuccinelli. 

“That famous saying on the Statue of Liberty — a shining a welcome message to all those seeking a better life in America — getting an update from Acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli, in the wake of a new Trump administration rule targeting immigrants who have come here legally, which says those applying for a green card for US citizenship will be penalized if they used public assistance programs like food stamps,” she explained.

“Meaning those being let into the country will be, wait for it, wealthier and whiter,” she added.

“I worry Donald Trump has moved the goalposts around unacceptable language so much, someone like Ken Cuccinelli — who at one time was welcome in polite Republican circles — can stand up and tout an extremely racist elitist policy,” Wallace concluded.

The elitism is a key factor in all this and as a strategy it does appear to be working well with Trump’s base of supporters, as noted by Amanda Maricotte at Salon.

Illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border appeared much more substantial precisely because the Trump administration had choked off access to legal ports of entry for many migrants seeking legal access. This was likely a clear strategic move by White House adviser Stephen Miller, deliberately turning otherwise would-be legal asylum seekers into lawbreakers. This campaign worked and activists were left to protest that asylum is a right recognized by international law while children were separated from their parents and shepherded into cages. Trump supporters, meanwhile, grew more obstinate in their opposition to immigrants.

Trump has repeated this strategy over and over again.

The president and his supporters insist that they aren’t against immigration — only, you know, the illegal kind — yet they have systemically hacked away at an already byzantine legal process, making it dramatically more difficult to access legal entry into the U.S. By stripping away at the last remnants of functional immigration policy, the Trump administration makes clear that this was never about the law and only about good old-fashioned xenophobia. Calls for immigrants to come into the U.S. “the right way” or “the legal way” have always been a deflection tactic, used so immigration foes don’t have to show their hand.

Trump and his people constantly argue that people should “enter the right” way, but as Marcotte points out his administration has been deliberately and systematically closing off the pathways to the “right way” with some rather quasi-legal strategies.

When Trump made his comments last year about “shithole countries” and “why can’t we have more people coming from Norway” it’s important to note that that discussion happened in the context of discussing people who had legally immigrated and had been granted TPS (Temporary Protective Status) as a result of natural disasters and tragedies in their home country.

Last Friday, in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the first hearing was held for a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s revocation of Temporary Protected Status for over 200,000 foreign nationals from four countries who currently live in the United States. The lawsuit alleges that Trump’s rhetoric demonstrates that his administration’s cancellation of TPS was motivated by bigotry, rather than policy concerns.

“The Trump administration’s decision to end TPS for people from these countries was motivated by its racism against non-white, non-European immigrants,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and co-counsel for the plaintiffs. “That racist motivation was obvious from a number of statements that this president and others in the administration made, including about TPS holders specifically.”

Created by Congress in 1990, TPS designations are extended to countries that have suffered from war, natural disasters, or other humanitarian emergencies that make it unsafe for their citizens abroad to return home. Expatriates of TPS countries in the U.S. are shielded from deportation for as long as their country’s designation remains in place.

Norway has not suffered from a devastating earthquake like Haiti. It hasn’t gone through the same problems that have affected El Salvador or some of the African nations which have been granted TPS status. It makes absolutely no sense for Norway to enter this discussion unless you’re suggesting that that nation be made to suffer some type of war or national disaster forcing their people to flee in desperation. Or you just (heart) white people.

The lawsuit is attempting to block Trump from sending hundreds of thousands of TPS recipients, even when their countries still remain damaged and dangerous, back to their home nations after some of them have been here for as long as 17 years and now have made families here including native-born children. So if they parents suddenly have to leave, what happens to the kids who are U.S. citizens?

The nation has been up in arms that Trump separated about 2,000 immigrants from their kids. Imagine if we’re soon talking about 200,000 child separations? All that’s on top of the fact that it’s fully and completely legal to enter the U.S. in order to request asylum if you have a legitimate credible threat against your life.

(1) In general

Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 1225(b) of this title.

There is a natural conflict between this and general immigration law, which had been resolved to the benefit of the asylum seeker who would be prosecuted, sued, or held by the U.S. government until after their asylum proceedings. Trump has reversed this policy and instead treated any person caught crossing the border under the most extreme criminal violations available under immigration law while essentially ignoring asylum law altogether. This is why we now have a “border crisis”; Because Trump has been treating the legal process for seeking asylum as if it were a crime. It’s not.

While it’s fair to ask why asylum seekers don’t use other means to legally enter it comes down largely to the fact that there are strict limits and costs on gaining access to legal visas that simply place such an option completely out of their reach. Specifically most people who are coming to the U.S. to work and build a new life as a economic migrant the price tag starts at $4,500 for a company to submit a request for the visa to bring a foreign worker to the U.S. By comparison, most other visas only cost about $160.

Petition-based visas are those that require an employer or someone from the US to petition for the applicant who wants to temporarily live and work in the US. Before the applicant can submit their Form DS-160, the employer must first submit a petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the US Department of State, or the US Homeland Department. The petitioner must also pay a fee for the petition, which can vary depending on the visa. […]

For petitioners for H visas, there is a fee of 4,500.00 USD for petitioning to the US institutions to bring a foreign temporary worker to the US.

There is no process for someone to immigrate to the U.S. and legally work unless they go through this petitioning process with a U.S. company. The immigrant can not offer to pay the $4,500 on their own. Everything is based on the company’s request. If you immigrate through other means, with a couple exceptions, you can only be here temporarily as a student or a vacationer but you can’t legally work here. You can’t buy a home, you can’t raise a family, you can’t start a new life.

Also there are specific limits and caps on the number of these types of visas which can be petitioned by the companies. Sixty-five thousand highly skilled workers per year are allowed in using H1-B visas while 66,080 non-agriculture H2-B Visas are available for blue color temporary workers per year. (Although the Trump administration has raised this second cap by another 30,000 per year.) Not counting the H1-A visa for agricultural workers which has no cap, this means that U.S. companies can only bring in 161,080 workers in per year using the current legal process. These visas last for two years so all together there are slots for about 322,000 legal migrants workers in the U.S. And that’s it.

This quite simply does not meet the demand for workers that many U.S. companies have for blue-collar workers especially on grueling, difficult, and dangerous jobs such as the Koch Foods chicken factory in Mississippi which was recently raided by ICE.

If Koch Foods had petitioned for a legal visa for each of the 680 undocumented workers that they were employing, it would have cost them over $3 million, so you can guess why they might have an incentive to turn a blind eye to the fact that some of these workers were undocumented and even to possibly help provide them fraudulent documentation the way that Trump’s Golf Clubs apparently did with their own set of undocumented workers.

Supervisors at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, provided fake green cards and Social Security numbers to undocumented employees, according to a report in the Washington PostAnibal Romero, a lawyer representing five immigrants who were undocumented while working at the Trump property, told the newspaper that he turned the fraudulent documents over to the FBI.

“I’m confident that federal and state authorities will conduct a complete and thorough investigation,” Romero told the New York Daily News in an interview. Romero first contacted Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor investigating the president, but Mueller told him it was not within his jurisdiction. A few weeks later, though, an FBI agent contacted Romero.

This is consistent with Trump’s questionable immigration shenanigans with his modeling agency.

But the mogul’s New York modeling agency, Trump Model Management, has profited from using foreign models who came to the United States on tourist visas that did not permit them to work here, according to three former Trump models, all noncitizens, who shared their stories with Mother Jones. Financial and immigration records included in a recent lawsuit filed by a fourth former Trump model show that she, too, worked for Trump’s agency in the United States without a proper visa.

Foreigners who visit the United States as tourists are generally not permitted to engage in any sort of employment unless they obtain a special visa, a process that typically entails an employer applying for approval on behalf of a prospective employee. Employers risk fines and possible criminal charges for using undocumented labor. […]

According to three immigration lawyers consulted by Mother Jones, even unpaid employment is against the law for foreign nationals who do not have a work visa. “If the US company is benefiting from that person, that’s work,” explained Anastasia Tonello, global head of the US immigration team at Laura Devine Attorneys in New York. These rules for immigrants are in place to “protect them from being exploited,” she said. “That US company shouldn’t be making money off you.”

Two of the former Trump models said Trump’s agency encouraged them to deceive customs officials about why they were visiting the United States and told them to lie on customs forms about where they intended to live. Anna said she received a specific instruction from a Trump agency representative: “If they ask you any questions, you’re just here for meetings.”

The reason that the worker visa caps are so low, and the cost for them so high, is so that companies have an incentive to hire workers outside the system and instead to use undocumented workers—some who may have come using a legal visa but aren’t allowed to work, or without any visa—in order to answer their workforce needs. 

The point is maintaining an endless supply of cheap labor. But more importantly, an endless supply of cheap, compliant labor that won’t become too uppity since the threat of being revealed and deported is always there to keep them in line. 

In the case of Koch Foods, perhaps the reason none of the company executives have been prosecuted yet for having hired so many undocumented employees could be the possibility that the ICE raid did them a favor by solving labor, discrimination, and sexual harassment issue they were having. 

Wednesday’s raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which led to nearly 700 workers being detained, targeted seven Koch Foods Inc. poultry plants in Morton, Mississippi. As it happens, last year, Koch Foods settled a $3.75 million lawsuit for racial discrimination, national origin discrimination, and sexual harassment against its Latinx workers in that very same Morton facility.

According to the suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), supervisors, “touched and/or made sexually suggestive comments to female Hispanic employees, hit Hispanic employees, and charged many of them money for normal everyday work activities.” Many workers were reportedly either discharged or subjected to other forms of retaliation when they complained.

As part of the settlement, Koch Foods not only paid out a massive sum to the victims, but also agreed to implement training for employees and set up a 24-hour hotline for reporting discrimination complaints in both English and Spanish. The settlement lasted three years, which means Koch Foods is still under supervision to continue efforts to reduce discrimination in its work place.

America by design, is supposed to be a safe haven for people fleeing danger, discrimination, and persecution and for those who wish to start their life over anew with greater possibilities and potential. But people like Trump don’t see it that way. They see immigrants as resources for use by companies, as fodder for corporate exploitation and profit or otherwise a threat. He talks about immigration based on “merit” but he defines those merits as being good, obedient, and compliant workers who will do what they’re told and stay in their place. 

He doesn’t consider that America is a gift, that it shouldn’t come with a high cost of entry so that only the “good not shithole people” get in. The promise and the potential of America is that it is intended to provide freedom to the people, not that the people are expected to provide easy accessible labor to its oligarch class as Ayn Rand would imagine.

Demonizing immigrants in order to pander to the economic, racial, and cultural anxiety of his base is a ploy that Trump has used quite effectively, but other than the fact he’s a bigot he doesn’t really mean it. He doesn’t really intend to help the blue collar workers in the Rust Belt because from his perspective, they’re shithole people too. 

Just imagine if you worked your entire life then suddenly came down with a chronic illness, the company you worked with never granted you more than 39 hours so you don’t have health coverage, and as a result you find you have to go onto Medicaid because the costs of the emergency room bills are too much. You remain injured and you can’t go back to work so you lose your job, then you lose your house because you can’t pay the mortgage. (And I’m not making this up. I have a cousin who recently suffered a stroke and all of this just happened to her.) Now a guy who received six bankruptcies is telling you that you’re a “freeloader” and that if you happen to be a immigrant—you no longer deserve to stay?

As has been repeatedly noted, the states that take the most money in federal dollars compared to what they generate are not necessarily the so-called blue states. 

Federal Tax spending per state

People in these states are often the people who are the closest to poverty and in the most need of aide, but that doesn’t make them weak or “unable to fend for themselves”—it happens. Sometimes people need a handout and a hand up because that’s part of life. If people in those states and situations were trying to get into the country as an immigrant under these new rules they likely wouldn’t make the cut. 

These new rules don’t consider the “can do” spirit of the heartland, it doesn’t consider that people don’t come to the U.S. to lounge around on the government largess. The rate crime by immigrants is lower that native citizens, and the rate of welfare use by immigrants is lower than native-born citizens. 

With very few exceptions (such as access to medical care for victims of human trafficking), undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefits such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and food stamps. In addition, most immigrants with lawful status are not entitled to these benefits until they have been in the country for five years or longer. This means that Social Security is often being deducted from immigrants’ paychecks but they cannot access those benefits. According to a 2018 study by the CATO Institute, eligible immigrants use 27% fewer benefits relative to U.S. natives of similar incomes and ages.

These stereotypes are all bogus. Becoming an American isn’t in your skin, it’s not in where you came from, it’s in your desire to improve your life, to provide a better life for your family. It may not happen quickly, it may not happen for a generation or two, but the point is the pursuit of happiness, and benefiting from the prosperity of liberty.

America is an idea. It’s an ideal, a value system. They don’t get even the tiniest bit of what America truly is, and what it stands for. They never will.

Sex workers and the Reverend: Trump’s hateful immigration raids create unlikely allies

Donald Trump isn’t exactly known for uniting Americans, but at least one Portland, Oregon partnership wouldn’t exist without him, or his vile policies: A pair of exotic dancers are working with a United Church of Christ pastor to raise money for the hundreds of children whose parents were rounded up in ICE’s latest raids in Mississippi.

Dawn McCall, who dances at a popular vegan strip club (which is possibly the most Portlandia thing ever), has teamed up with Rev. Adam Ericksen, whose church marquee messages of love have made him a viral celebrity. Using the hashtag #OurKids, the Oregonian reports that the pair is working to raise funds for the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance.

McCall and a team of fellow sex-industry workers will hold charity events the next two Saturdays at Casa Diablo, known for its meatless food menu and policy of prohibiting performers from wearing animal products on stage.

Ericksen, meanwhile, has asked the congregants at his Clackamas United Church of Christ in Milwaukie and other faith communities in the Portland area to pitch in financially.

McCall, who is no stranger to activism, through her “altruistic stripper company,” Team Blue, first met Ericksen when he gained well-deserved fame for his church sign. Despite being an atheist, she donated to his church to support his efforts. The idea to help the temporary orphans in Mississippi came from a colleague, who was compelled to do something, anything, for the children, many of whom came home from their first day of school to find their parents in ICE custody.

(A) former co-worker, who is also an artist, asked (McCall) what they could do to help these immigrant children.

The co-worker, Lauren Seeley, created an image for t-shirts and postcards now available online.

When Rev. Ericksen got wind of the effort, it was a no-brainer for him to join in.

“Christianity is about trying to help those on the margins of society — that’s where God goes,” Ericksen said. “Anyone who goes to people who need to be loved, I want to be on their team.”

The dancers’ #OurKids fundraiser is now featured on the pastor’s famous marquee and the church’s homepage.

This selfie is great

In addition to selling Seeley’s art and the fundraising events at Casa Diablo, McCall and her colleagues are also accepting cold, hard cash. 

In the video posted on Thursday to launch the initiative, both McCall and Ericksen each address the “strange bedfellows” aspect of their collaboration — and then they run right over it.

McCall: “As an atheist, I know it seems super weird that strippers would do anything with a church for any reason. However, this is Portland, and we keep it weird. 

[…] Preacherman here, Pastor Adam, and I … both felt pretty devastated over what was happening to these kids in Mississippi, so we decided to link up …”

Ericksen: ”Because at the end of the day, we are all saints, and we are all sinners, and the children in Mississippi are our children, too.”

All the same, McCall offered the Oregonian one last message for those still surprised by her partnership with Ericksen.

“We hustle for those who right now can’t hustle for themselves,” she said.

That’s a life mantra for all of us — and a quote that would look great on any church marquee.

The Daily Kos Community has raised almost $190,000 for the children and families targeted by last week’s ICE raids. Can you chip in $3 or more and help us reach $200,000? 

A court just had to tell Trump admin that, yes, detained migrant kids do need toothbrushes and soap

Remember when government attorney Sarah Fabian got famous for all the wrong reasons, thanks to a viral video of her arguing in court that detained migrant kids don’t really need bare necessities such as a toothbrush? That miserable argument thankfully got rejected, following a unanimous decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruling that, yes, these kids actually do require soap and sleeping mats.

“Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste, and are not sleep deprived are without doubt essential to the children’s safety,” wrote Judge Marsha Berzon. “It’s a major victory for children in federal immigration custody,” said Elora Mukherjee, an attorney who has the right to inspect immigration detention facilities as part of the Flores agreement.

A team of lawyers who inspected a Border Patrol facility near El Paso, Texas, in June found dozens of sick kids lacking access to water and food. Some jailed children had been forced to take care of other jailed children. Three girls said they were trying to watch over a 2-year-old boy “who had wet his pants and no diaper and was wearing a mucus-smeared shirt when the legal team encountered him.” “In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention,” said Holly Cooper of the University of California, Davis, Immigration Law Clinic, “I have never heard of this level of inhumanity.”

In the video, Fabian had said kids don’t really need any of this stuff because, “Well, I think, in C.B.P. custody, it’s frequently intended to be much shorter term. So it may be that for a shorter-term stay in C.B.P. custody that some of those things may not be required.” But kids at the El Paso facility told attorneys they’d gone weeks without being able to take a bath or even change their clothes. Weeks, when under the law, Border Patrol is not supposed to be detaining them longer than 72 hours.

“Berzon, William A. Fletcher and A. Wallace Tashima also upheld a requirement that government officials work to release detained children from custody as quickly as possible because of the detrimental impact that detention can have on their mental and physical health,” The New York Times reported. “The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment on the decision.”

The court’s decision is no doubt a major victory, as Mukherjee noted, but at the same time we should all really think about the fact that we’ve sunk so far as a nation that a federal court had to tell the federal government that kids should be able to brush their teeth. As Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth tweeted yesterday, “A court needed to force them to let children bathe. Let that sink in.”

Cuccinelli Takes ‘Lady Liberty’ Selfie; Crops Out ‘Immigrants Welcome’

Despite widespread outcry after saying the U.S. should only welcome immigrants who “can stand on their own two feet” and that Statue of Liberty was only meant to welcome Europeans to U.S. shores, President Donald Trump’s top immigration official Ken Cuccinelli had a replica of the famous monument removed from the Department of Homeland Security’s […]

NFL players bail out college student detained by ICE for 3 months after reading poem in public

Jose Bello, a 22-year-old college student and farmworker who was imprisoned for 89 days at the Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield, California, was released on Monday. The decision by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to hold Bello on $50,000 bail—a sum Bello could not possibly afford to pay himself—seemed closely tied to Bello’s reading of a poem titled “Dear America” at a public forum on California’s Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (TRUTH) Act held on May 13 by the Kern County Board of Supervisors in Bakersfield. Two days after that reading, Bello was arrested by ICE agents and held until National Football League players Josh Norman of Washington and Demario Davis of the New Orleans Saints paid for his bail.

Campaign Action

Norman released a statement through the ACLU saying, “Jose Bello was exercising a fundamental right that we pride ourselves on as Americans. If he was detained for reciting a peaceful poem then we should really ask ourselves, are our words truly free? This is America right? Where the 1st Amendment is freedom of speech unless I missed the memo somewhere. He was exercising that right.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has filed a lawsuit on Bello’s behalf, calling ICE’s detention of Bello a retaliatory act infringing on his civil and free speech rights. Bello has been receiving pro bono legal support from the United Farm Workers Foundation. The UFW has been offering its resources to many immigrants targeted by Trump’s racist policies and ICE’s Gestapo-like assaults.

According to The Washington Post, Bello was arrested in May 2018 by ICE agents and accused of being a part of a local street gang. A federal immigration judge ordered Bello released on a $10,000 bond in August of that year. Then Bello was rearrested this January on a misdemeanor DUI charge, but not held. It was not until two days after Bello read his poem that ICE showed up and arrested him for the misdemeanor DUI—four months later.

The football players who helped pay Bello’s bail are members of a group of players who banded together two years ago to point out American injustice and help in any way they could. The group is called Players Coalition.

You can watch Bello read his poem “Dear America” below the fold.

x x
YouTube Video